I am work-whelmed this week - but there's always time for a sonnet. Here's one by Philip Larkin, in the Italian form, with the turn, unusually, after the ninth rather than the eighth line. It proceeds steadily, building up a quiet, static scene from provincial life - a scene imbued with the seedy melancholy of a Sickert interior - until, at the very end, a sudden swerve of tone changes everything and delivers a very different kind of poem.
Friday Night at the Royal Station Hotel
Light spreads darkly downwards from the high
Clusters of lights over empty chairs
That face each other, coloured differently.
Through open doors, the dining-room declares
A larger loneliness of knives and glass
And silence laid like carpet. A porter reads
An unsold evening paper. Hours pass,
And all the salesmen have gone back to Leeds,
Leaving full ashtrays in the Conference Room.
In shoeless corridors, the lights burn. How
Isolated, like a fort, it is --
The headed paper, made for writing home
(If home existed) letters of exile: Now
Night comes on. Waves fold behind villages.
There's a similar - and similarly effective - swerve towards the end of Larkin's Money.
And the Royal Station Hotel is now the Mercure Hull Royal Hotel, which, 'with its iconic status as one of the central landmarks of the city,
offers the splendor of Victorian architecture with a dramatic, luxurious
and modern twist in decor and style.' How delightful.